Sony Supports Female Creators and the Real Life Conference
For the second year in a row Sony is the title sponsor of Real Life Conference. Sony Artisan, Brooke Shaden, will also be joining the speaking line up this November 4-6 in Portland, Oregon!
Last year Sony stepped up as sponsors of our amazing conference. Our values, pillars, and the community we serve matched perfectly with their mandate to support female photographers. Earlier in the year they launched the ground-breaking Sony Alpha Female program, where they gave $25,000 in grants, plus six months of one-on-one mentoring with Sony Artisans, and a boatload of Sony gear. It was designed for professional women creators to take their careers to the next level.
The launch was wildly successful. They estimated there would be 500 to 1,000 applications. When 6,000 women applied, they were blown away. It was a clear indication that the need for this kind of community support was clear. This year they announced Sony Alpha Female 2.0, supporting six women this time, with a distinct emphasis on photographers and videographers.
We’re absolutely thrilled that Sony gets it. They are putting their money where their mouth is by coming back to support Real Life again this year. That’s not all, Sony Artisan, Brooke Shaden, will be presenting along side an accomplished line up of speakers. Her session, “Mobilizing Your Legacy,” is about understanding the importance of legacy in our work, sharing her own journey, and helping build a roadmap that will hone in on work that can change our own lives and the world.
"My life's mission is to inspire creativity in others, and to do that we need an open platform where we can settle into honesty, trust, and vulnerability. Real Life is my perfect scenario, a space where I can feel comfortable being my weird, awkward, and raw self while sharing as openly as possible with inspiring individuals. I absolutely can't wait to get there," said Shaden.
Sitting in the audience last year, Megan Allen was one of several women who raised their hand when Michaela Ion, Senior Manager of Sony Alpha Universe Platform and Sony Alpha Female Program, asked the group who applied. Little did Allen know, but soon after leaving Canmore she was announced as one of the five women chosen in the inaugural program. Her life was about to catapult.
“In the last eight months I have been given the support and permission to fly in ways I only dreamed of. Michaela and the Sony Alpha Female team lifted me up, said, “We see you, we believe in you,” and gave me the permission I needed to internally believe I could do anything I wanted with my career. My fellow creator in residences rallied beside me and we grew together as we took this journey as a team,” said Allen. She recently added teacher to her list of accomplishments and launched her very own wedding photography workshop, ROAR.
We can’t think of a better way to celebrate how much this program has touched our community than to encourage each of you to apply this year. The new deadline for applications is this coming weekend, Sept. 15, 2019. Allen is proof that dreams come true. Last year Ion and Kayla Lindquist, Director of the Sony Artisan Program, gave sage advice for applicants.
“Know your value proposition. You are great. It’s the foundation of what you’re working with. What specifically about you is deserving of this program? What will your career look like in 5 to 10 years? We want to see that vision,” explained Ion.
“Channel your emotion into your art. Tell us how you’re going to passionately pursue your career. The men that we work with never go to the emotional level. That’s a great strength that we have. Use it as a something that differentiates you.”
Lindquist added, “Please stop putting yourself down. If you have one minute to sell yourself, pretend you’re in the elevator. Don’t tell me for 37 seconds that you’re not good in front of a camera. That you’re a photographer and you belong on the other side. Own it. Be who you are. Be on target.”
Be brief, be on target, and believe in yourself. That was the overall message Ion and Lindquist preached. Sony knows that access is essential and something women don’t have. They know they have the capacity to facilitate access. And they know that the Sony Alpha community at large wants to see the Alpha Females grow.
More companies need to be prescriptive about their support of females and other underserved communities, like Sony is doing. All of our sponsors understand the importance of supporting conferences like this one. Stepping up to lead the way now and for the future generations of
Note: Megan Allen’s photos were all taken after being named Sony Alpha Female. Visual proof of the power support can give us.